Overdentures — dentures over dental implants
There are very few things in life that I can speak with certainty about, but overdentures are one of those things. Overdentures derive their name from the fact that they are a denture that goes oversomething else. The denture can go over teeth or dental implants, but most of the time dental implants are chosen.
The main purpose of overdentures is as follows: the denture will stay in the mouth better. When a denture simply rests in the mouth on one’s tissue and dental ridges, there is very little to hold the denture in place. Although many patients over many decades have used conventional full mouth dentures with nothing under the denture, even a seasoned veteran will tell you that it can be difficult if not impossible to keep their lower denture from not moving at all. A maxillary or top denture is a different story. A top denture has a patient’s palate to rest upon. That palate gives added support for the denture. In addition, unlike the environment for a bottom denture, a top denture doesn’t have to deal with a movable tongue in the middle of the prosthesis. And finally, a top denture can actually achieve a good seal with its peripheral tissues (kind of like a suction cup).
A mandibular denture is much different. First, it is horseshoe shaped (to traverse around one’s much-needed tongue). Next, it’s just impossible to get a good tissue seal. Most wearers adapt to wearing a full mouth denture by learning how to chew differently and/or wearing denture adhesive. For those who hate denture adhesive: enter overdentures.
Overdentures: strength, support aesthetics, function AND RETENTION
An overdenture can be fabricated from scratch to have strength, support, aesthetics, function ANDretention. By fabricating a denture with the necessary components, an overdenture can be connected to dental implants. It works very similarly to a button on a coat. One component of the button is attached to a biocompatible, titanium post in one’s jaw. The other component rests inside the underside of the denture. This creates a situation where one’s overdenture can actually snap to place.
Having fabricated and presented many patients with this excellent treatment modality, I am confident in its ability to deliver results. One of my favorite parts of my job is the day we connect an overdenture to dental implants (particularly a lower denture). I watch with delight as my patient experiences for the first time no movement associated with their replacement teeth.
When an overdenture is connected, dreams become reality.
It occurs like this: The attachment component is placed on the implant and the transferred into the underside of the overdenture. The denture is examined for fit and comfort and the patient is asked to remove the denture and again place back into their mouth. At this point, the patient begins to remove the denture. It is always exciting to see the smile on every face when they realize just how stable the denture has become. Behind that smile I know they are daydreaming about how this overdenture will effect their life: ability to chew without the teeth moving, confidence in knowing that their smile is exactly the same each time, and, lastly, absolutely no more of that denture adhesive. I see the delight in their smile and that makes me smile as well.